I’m not going to spend too much time on this because it’s not really worth my time (or yours). But I’ve learned a lesson lately that I want to share.
Last week, I made a mistake. I don’t regret said mistake, because I value the lesson that came from it — which could have come at a far worse time — but I still think sharing the experience is the right thing to do. If you recall, one of my goals here is to keep myself honest.
I want to talk about poisonous people. I want to talk about the importance of removing them from your life. And of not engaging with them, at any point. I don’t care who they are. Poison begets poison.
This week, I did something I haven’t done in a long time — something I explicitly stopped myself from doing for many (obvious) reasons. I sent an angry email.
I will leave it to you to imagine what an angry email from me might look like. You’ve seen the anger here. You know I’m capable of breaking things down analytically. Throw those two things together, add a touch of the personal and…let’s just say it’s a talent I’m not proud of, but I can be very good at hitting the target with written personal attacks.
Luckily, I was raised to respect people, and also to take responsibility for my actions. I rarely attack anyone, and when I do, it’s almost always after being provoked. I’m not saying that to excuse myself — well, partially I am. I think it’s an understandable, if still inadequate, reason for losing one’s cool.
On this particular occasion, someone did something to intentionally hurt my wife. An angry email was actually the only idea I was able to come up with that wouldn’t have serious repercussions for her or for me.
I explicitly stopped short of threatening violence in the email, stating my reasoning: because it’s wrong. I also suggested another reason for physical restraint — that I found the person so contemptible that I didn’t want to dirty myself by touching him. This second part, in retrospect, is in fact regrettable. All I managed to do there was bring more drama to the situation, which is all this person probably wanted in the first place. To rationalize the darkness in himself by drawing an excuse for it out of others.
I get the guy. He’s messed up. He’s had a tough go of it, in certain regards. For this reason, my wife and I — who have also had our share of struggles — ignored several telltale signs over the past year or so that this person’s poison was indiscriminate. We failed to realize that, until and unless he takes steps to cure himself, he will always be someone who destroys others. All others, at one point or another.
I should have just let it go, as my wife did. I should have immediately followed suit when she determined to cut him out of her life. I didn’t do that, because I’m still battling occasionally with my own poison: The Fury.
So, what happened after the email? Nothing. Except I’m pretty sure the guy went onto IMDb and messed with the rating for my second film, Sex and Justice. Our audience for the flick was relatively small compared to some other films, so we only have a few ratings. If and when someone rates the film a “one out of ten,” the overall rating plummets. This has happened before, on another occasion when I sent an angry email to someone, who also thought the adult thing to do would be to attack my film in this way, despite not having seen it.
Lesson learned, this time. Don’t engage at all with poisonous people. Know the signs (lack of respect for others, immaturity, obliviousness to their own flaws — the list goes on) recognize them early, and get out before they hurt you. Nothing is worth the anxiety that comes with keeping such people in your life. Everything is gained by pushing them out to make room for someone better.
Are both these malicious down-raters assholes, for doing something so unfair and stupid? Yes. But I’m the one who’s never going to get the chance to explain what they did to some producer or support program if they go check out Sex and Justice on IMDb and see a very low rating where there used to be a very high one.
If I had done nothing — or at the very least waited until my anger had subsided before I did anything — we wouldn’t be talking about this. I was wrong.
However, I was a lot less wrong than the fuckhead who started all this. Another thing this site is about is justice.
And so I humbly ask that you help me show this guy that positivity and community can go a long way in repairing the damage done by a few negative individuals (my momentarily relapsed self included).
Over 1,000 people saw Sex and Justice when we were screening it in 2008 and 2009. Almost 400 different people have visited this site, and I’m sure there’s a lot of overlap between those two groups. If you saw Sex and Justice, and you liked it, please consider rating the film on IMDb. As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, I’d rather the rating reflect reality and not the inability of someone else to act like an adult.
I just didn’t realize I was talking about myself as much as him when I wrote it.
Thanks for reading.